Category Archives: bread

Seattle Restaurant Week 2013: Lunch at the Steelhead Diner

Seattle Restaurant Week ran this fall from October 13th-17th and the 20th-24th. I went out twice the first week, once for lunch and once for dinner, and one time for dinner during the second week. If you don’t know, restaurant week gives you the opportunity to have a 3 course lunch or dinner (respectively $15 or $28) at a number of Seattle/Bellevue/etc. area restaurants. It’s a great chance to try a new, high-quality restaurant for a very reasonable price. The last thing that I cannot stress enough about restaurant week is that YOU NEED RESERVATIONS. Even for lunch. There may be certain restaurants where you do not, but if you have your heart set on going somewhere, check it at least a week in advance. Many of them allow you to reserve Via Yelp/OpenTable which I’ve had no problems with and which is my favorite way to reserve.

All 3 that I visited had great options for all the courses and very generous portions. But first, I’m going to talk about the Steelhead Diner. First, the menu. There were 3 options for each of the 3 courses, and I chose the tater tots, the pasta, and the pear crisp bar. I do kind of regret not choosing the sandwich for the second course, because it sounded really interesting and the pasta was such a large portion that, while delicious, it was impossible for me to finish.

The restaurant itself is located right over from the Pike Place Market which makes parking obnoxious, but which makes for a pretty view if you have a window seat.

20131029-100624.jpg

 

We were given bread and herbed butter to start.

herbed butter

 

bread

 

The crab and shrimp tater tots came with a great celery leaf salad garnish and a pretty good sauce, considering I am not an “add sauce to everything” kind of person. Also, note the adorable plates that go with the fly fishing theme.

tater tots

 

The next course for me was the pasta, which was a trenne with mushrooms, cheese, and roasted cauliflower. As I mentioned, the portion was huge so I couldn’t finish it, but it was a very good pasta dish.

pasta

 

The absolute BEST part of this meal was the pear crisp. But while we waited for dessert, I had my friend try to get some sneaky decor pictures of the flies in the glass case next to where we were seated.

fly!\

all the flies

 

And now for the dessert! As I mentioned, it was a pear crisp with hazelnut streusel and vanilla icing. It also had the best whipped cream I’ve ever tried, which was so thick and flavorful that it tasted like vanilla ice cream.

dessert!

 

Overall, I would definitely go back to the Steelhead Diner.

right by the market

 

Restaurant Week returns Spring 2014, and if you have the opportunity, go for it!

Post and photos by: Melissa

 


Bite of Seattle 2013 & Olympic Sculpture Park, plus some Chihuly

This weekend is the bite of Seattle. Naturally this means I’m quite excited and had to partake in the festivities. Twice. Once on Friday and once on Saturday. I highly recommend going to the Bite of Seattle, or any other “bite” type activity you have in your area, as it’s a great way to enjoy a variety of foods from the area at a reasonable price. In my case I went to “the alley“, which is the event’s largest fundraiser, donating the money to Food Lifeline, a local charity. The menu is different on all 3 days, so I posted a link to it above (“the alley” link) but I’ll explain as I show you the food below. But first, the Space Needle. You can also see the fountain spraying water below the Space Needle, which is a fun attraction especially for children as they try to run away before they get wet.

needle and fountain

Friday:

friday food

From the yellow rice, clockwise, and then the middle:

Far-Eats: Tender chicken morsels simmered in an aromatic sauce with herbs & spices then slowly baked with basmati rice until flavors blend
Dahlia Lounge: Ginger pork salad with blueberries, mint and chilies
O’Asian Kitchen and Lounge: Baked Barbecue Pork Pastry
Purple Cafe: Summer Quinoa Salad
Din Tai Fung: Veggie & pork wonton with spicy sauce
Yippie-Pie-Yay: Peach-Bourbon Hand Pie
Belltown Pub: Chicken & Seafood Gumbo

I really liked everything, except for the Belltown Pub’s gumbo. However, if you like extremely smoky flavors, you might have liked it. My favorite was the Dahlia Lounge’s ginger pork – it was amazing. Another favorite was the wonton from Din Tai Fung. Fortunately, the wonton was served on both days that I visited.

Saturday:

saturday foods

From the bun, clockwise:

Local 360: Root beer glazed pork belly
Palace Kitchen: Slow cooked brisket, blueberry BBQ, sweet corn pudding & blueberry pickles
O’Asian Kitchen and Lounge: Baked Barbecue Pork Pastry
PinkaBella Cupcakes: Root beer float cupcake
Din Tai Fung: Veggie & pork wonton with spicy sauce
Shanik: Roasted spiced eggplant, squash & tomatoes with crispy wheat flatbread
Salty’s on Alki: Fresh Oregon BayShrimp Cocktail with marinated local vegetable slaw finished with a house-made cocktail

The brisket was amazing, (and of course blueberries are my favorite food) and the shrimp cocktail and spiced veggies on flatbread were respectively fresh and nicely seasoned. The root beer float cupcake was delicious, though very heavy on the frosting, to the point that it fell over in my corn. But it was still good!

After we left the bite we walked around the area, and ended up at the Olympic sculpture park where there were a few interesting pieces that I hadn’t seen before, and a few I think I just haven’t taken a close look at before. We also wandered by a new Chihuly piece which was visible from the walkway. They reminded me of Dr. Suess flowers.

Metal tree!

metal tree!

Eyeball chair! As demonstrated by lady with stroller.

eyeball chair

The infamous naked fountain, though the other figure is obscured by water.

fountain

I’m told that this sculpture is fashioned after an old-timey eraser with a brush on the end. I thought it was some kind of sea creature…

eraser art

Temporary art installation:

the roofroofing

And the flowers.

dr suess

fun times in suessland

Post and photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Three (Atlanta: Aquarium & Silver Skillet & Poor Calvin’s Absolute Fusion)

This morning we got up early and promptly went back to sleep after the alarm woke us up. We headed out to the Silver Skillet, a local diner, for breakfast. Afterward, we went to the Georgia aquarium and we finally ended up eating dinner at Poor Calvin’s Absolute Fusion, which is a Thai/Asian Fusion restaurant.

My mom did both the beluga experience and the whale shark swim. I went around with my dad to ALL the other parts of the Georgia aquarium. But lets start with the breakfast at the Silver Skillet.

Silver skillet

front

menufront

two

three

four

inside

table

I got the sandwich with bacon eggs and cheese, my mom got the ham skillet and my dad got eggs and sausage.

sandwich

ham skillet

egg sausage

We also had biscuits, which were good, and I was SO excited to see this tabletop because it is almost exactly the same as our kitchen counter used to be (our house was built in the 60s.) So I loved it. (those shapes!!)

Next we went to the aquarium.

lionfish

turtle

tanky

seahorse

seahorse 2

jellies

fishes

fin

grouper?

whale shark

penguins

Beluga whales!

beluga

bel

whale

fish

snake

Albino alligator!

albino

two

three

Piranha

fishie

WHALE SHARK!!!!

whaleshark

Behind the scenes: They grow their own coral!

growing coral

more

Sorry Atlanta lovers, as a Seattle fan I’m still a bit upset over the playoffs. 😦

BOO FALCONS

Still a cool dolphin though.

still cool

another

last one

Lastly, we headed over to Poor Calvin’s, and parked by central park.

inside

one

20130502-215652.jpg

Thought I would show the drinks up closer.

drinks

I had the crispy beef, my mom had the unicorn fish, and my dad had the steak. I also ordered the sangria (amazing) and my mom had the “Frankly my dear” cocktail. Both were great, and all the food was too.

We had the calamari as an appetizer.

calamari

steak

fish

beef

sangria

rose cocktail

The staff was really friendly and they also gave us a gift at the end of our meal: a chocolate-covered apple with a 15% off an entree coupon.

dessert

We very much enjoyed our day today and had a much-needed great meal and drink at the end. Glad we didn’t settle for the loud, not-as-great hotel bar. 🙂
If I lived in Atlanta, I think I’d go to Poor Calvin’s to drink as well, seemed like a very nice bar with friendly staff.

Post and photos by: Melissa


Asiago garlic bread (loaf)

Since I had already tried making asiago bagels I decided to do something different this time, and bake a loaf of asiago cheese bread. I chose to add garlic to mine because that’s always a winning combination. The recipe calls for optional rosemary, which I think would be a great choice too. It should be noted that this recipe takes SO long for the dough to be ready to bake ~3 to 3.5 hours, with steps in between wait times. But let me just tell you that it was so worth it. This bread is light, cheesy and flavorful. It would’ve been crispier if I could’ve baked it a little longer but you may know by now that I get very paranoid about burning my baked goods.

Ingredients:

3-3.5 cups of bread flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 package dry active yeast
1.25 cups water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons of rosemary or thyme (optional) and/or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1.25 cups asiago cheese or other firm cheese, cubed (swiss, gruyere, etc.)
Cooking spray (like Pam)

Recipe:

1. In a large bowl, combine 1.5 cups flour, the sugar and yeast and mix. Add the 1.25 cups of warm water (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit) and stir until all combined into a ball. Let stand about 1 hour, until bubbly.

first

bubbly

2. Stir in the oil, rosemary (or other herb/garlic) and salt with a wooden spoon. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is soft, easily leaves sides of bowl, and is easily handled. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 15 minutes.

handle that

3. Sprinkle flour on flat surface (counter or cutting board) and place dough. Knead the dough, pulling toward you, pressing away with your palm and rotating 1/4 each time between pressing. Sprinkle more flour if the dough sticks. Knead in 1 cup of the cheese. Spray a bowl with the cooking spray and place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover and let rise 45-60 minutes, until about doubled in size.

cheesy

poof cheese

shiny

4. Deflate your dough with your fist. Spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray. Gently form your dough into a football shape, about 12 inches long. Coat loaf with flour. Let rise in a warm place, covered, another 45-60 minutes until about doubled in size.

dough ready!

5. Place an 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan halfway filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven. Heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Sprinkle or spray your loaf with water and sprinkle desired amount of flour. Cut a line in the middle of your bread lengthwise about 1/2 inch deep and fill with remaining cheese.

full of cheese

7. Place in oven on middle rack, above the water-filled pan’s rack. Bake about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake another 20-25 minutes, until browned and cheesy. At your own risk, bake a bit longer to get it really crusty. I was unable to do so, but this bread is still delicious and will get harder if left on the counter.

yum

8. Enjoy! Experiment with your own combination of spices, cheese, garlic, onions, whatever! I think this is a versatile recipe that you can easily customize. 🙂

cheese holes!

Post & photos by: Melissa


Pizza dough (totally from scratch!)

If you’re a long-time blog reader (are there any of you out there?) you’ll know that the first summer of this blog’s existence we made grilled pizzas from scratch. But this is going to be like the one I made with store-bought dough, except I made it myself. 🙂

This post will include the recipe for the dough I made (which makes enough dough for 2 medium pizzas) and the finished result of each pizza. The recipe claims this will make dough for 4 pizzas, but seriously unless you’re feeding children I’d say it makes 2 medium pizzas unless you like the crust super thin and then maybe it could make 4, but they won’t be substantial.

I used this recipe for the pizza dough, but used 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 2 cups of bread flour instead of 3 cups of all-purpose flour. Keep reading to see my results!

Ingredients:

1 package of active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
(desired pizza sauce, cheese, & toppings!)

Recipe:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup warm water.

yeasty

2. Combine the flour and the salt in another bowl.  Add the oil, yeast mixture, and remaining 3/4 cup of warm water and combine until it forms a dough ball. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead 2-3 minutes until smooth and firm.

dough ball

3. Cover dough with a clean, damp towel and let rise for about 2 hours. Divide into 2 equal dough balls and knead these 4-5 times each until smooth. Place under towel and again let rest for about an hour.

stored

covered

risen

4. Roll out your dough on a greased pizza pan, or press dough for a thicker crust.

pizza rolled

5. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings! Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes (may take more or less time depending on thickness and toppings, and desired crispness of crust.)

pizza~

And here is my second pizza.

meaty

Dough will keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days. If you’d like to freeze it, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store this way for up to a week.

Post & photos by: Melissa


Asiago Cheese Bagels (1st attempt at bagels)

I love bagels and asiago cheese. So asiago cheese bagels are the best! I’ve been intimidated by making my own bagels for some time, and interested in baking bread, so I thought I’d give it a try when I saw this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, How Sweet it Is.

I have to admit that as a first attempt this did not turn out perfectly. I also halved the recipe, because this was supposed to make 12-15 bagels and I certainly don’t need that many. I ended up with 6, though one was horribly misshapen and they all ended up more like mini asiago flatbreads. But they had the right texture and taste for asiago bagels, even though they did not have the full roundness of a bagel. I think I would try a different shaping method next time, but overall I’m satisfied with the flavor, if not the look, of these “bagels.” This is also the first time I’ve used bread flour. And as a last note on the recipe, I also do not have a fancy mixer (so I used a spoon.) Because I’ve posted the link to the recipe, I’m going to simply list the ingredients and my step-by-step simple instructions with pictures here, but recommend referring back to the original recipe for best results (hopefully even better than mine!)

Ingredients:

10-12 oz. grated asiago cheese
2 cups warm water
2 packets active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons honey
3 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
vegetable oil for brushing/coating

Recipe:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey and stir to combine. Let sit about 10-15 minutes, or until foamy. 

foamy

2. Once foamy, gradually add salt, 2 cups of all-purpose flour, and 2 cups of bread flour while mixing at a low speed. If dough remains sticky after around 5 minutes, add remaining bread flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and combine.

3. Remove dough from bowl and knead a few times, and form into a ball. Add remaining all-purpose flour if dough is still sticky. Brush a large bowl with oil and place dough inside, turning to coat. Leave in a warm place for one hour, until dough has doubled in size.

coated in oil

4. Once dough has doubled in size, punch down and divide dough into 12-15 equal pieces that are about 2.5-3 oz each. Roll dough into balls and place on oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. After 30 minutes, fill a large pot with water and the brown sugar and slowly heat it to boiling. While it’s not too hot, add a dough ball and poke  hole in the middle with your finger, then gently twirl to create a bagel shape. Re-place on cookie sheet while you wait for the water to boil. Repeat with all bagels.

6. After water is boiling, add bagel to water and boil 2 minutes on one side, then flip and boil 30 seconds on the other. Remove and press gently in the cheese to coat, then re-place on cookie sheet for final baking. Repeat for all bagels.

full of cheese

so cheeeeeesy

7. Bake for around 28-35 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bagels are done when dough is cooked and cheese is golden and crisp.

and here she is, ms. america (I mean asiago bagels...)

there they are!

Trust me, they taste great! I’ve had two already and it’s only been one day. But I won’t be continuing at this rate, don’t worry!

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Portage Bay Cafe (Brunch) & Hiram M. Chittenden (Ballard) Locks

I went to Ballard recently(ish) to get brunch with my mom at Portage Bay Cafe and generally just walk around and see the area, while I was home for the holidays. We’ll start with the brunch (which was amazing) and move onto the Ballard Locks which I don’t recall ever visiting before this.

Portage bay French toast - Grains

Eggs to the end of page one

1/2 of menu back

2/2 of menu back

this is one of the walls

My mom and I both decided on egg dishes, though she was tempted by the French Toast. We wanted the toast and potatoes that came with the egg dishes.

I got the chicken sausage scramble, with sundried tomato + chicken sausage, red pepper pesto, roasted fennel, shiitake mushrooms and manchego cheese. It was so good and full of different flavors. It was a little bit spicy because of the sausage and a little bit salty and sweet because of the pesto, mushrooms, and cheese. So GOOD. i also liked the potatoes, though I did salt and pepper them a bit.

chicken sausage scramble

My mom got the Italian omelette, with fennel-spiked Italian sausage, fresh basil, Ladysmith cheese, tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms. She really liked it also and her potatoes are hiding under her toast.

mom's plate

After brunch we headed to the Ballard locks which were almost literally just around the corner. Just click on the name there for some background information, provided by those who I’m sure would do a better job than I. Essentially the locks modify/regulate water levels to allow ships safe passage between Puget Sound and Lake Union/Lake Washington. There’s also a fish ladder with a viewing area to allow spectators to stare at the fish.

The sign for the Locks

welcome!

Time for some garden shots.

welcome to the nursery

words about the garden (sorry for quality)

nice little garden-y place

the gate

we welcome you

garden plants

cool plant stuff

Back to the fish/locks/ladder/etc.

Going with the flow

the water comes from above

and comes out down below

Hiram himself

and a reproduction

that's quite a pickle

so many fish

now for the fish ladder

but wait, there's art!

the noble salmon must be recognized

and finally a chart of the fish

These last two pictures were taken indoors, in the horrible lighting of the fish ladder area. The last one was even more horrible because it was backlit. Sorry. We did see a few (about 3-4) small Steelhead while in the viewing area, but it wouldn’t have turned out on film. All the more incentive for you to visit in one of the busier months! 🙂

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa